Sunday, February 27, 2005

Ethiopia's Crop Production Up 24%

Ethiopia produced 14.27 million tonnes of crops in 2004, 24% higher than in 2003 and 21% more than the average of the past five years, a report says.

The increase was due mainly to better rains, increased use of fertilizer and improved seeds, especially wheat and maize, the UN agencies said.

Nevertheless, 2.2 million Ethiopians will still need emergency assistance.

Why do millions of Ethiopians go hungry even when production is high and the market is full?

The government should consider self-sufficiency programs
Less dependency on foreign aid programs
Create local, sustainable economies

The government encourages Qatar to invest in Ethiopia's agro-industry.

Background on the Famine
The 1984-85 famine had seriously threatened Ethiopia's reserves of landraces of traditional seeds. According to RaceandHistory.com, the famine - itself in large part a product of the economic reforms imposed to the advantage of large corporations by the IMF, World Bank and the US Government - served to undermine Ethiopia's genetic diversity to the benefit of the biotech companies.

At the very same time Ethiopia was using some of its agricultural land to produce linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal for export to the UK and other European nations as feed for livestock.

Millions of acres of third world land are now being used exclusively to produce feed for European livestock.

The United Nations' food agency continues to endorse biotechnology Monday as a promising way to improve farming around the world, but complained the technology is still not designed to meet the needs of poor countries.

Agriculture is the main economic activity in Ethiopia, representing 45% of gross domestic product.

About 80% of Ethiopians depend directly or indirectly on agriculture.

The 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today. The study of 146 countries finds that many African countries rank "above average", with good systems in place for the management of environmental and development issues. Gabon is the highest-ranked country in Africa, which means that it is least likely to experience major environmental deterioration in the short and medium-term future, the report says. Worst of in Africa, according to the ESI, are Sudan (35.9), Ethiopia (37.9), Burundi (40.0) and Zimbabwe (41.2).

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